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Finding the Positive in the Rams' 0-2 Start
by Seth Doria Seth DoriaColumnist, Featured Columnist
Columnist Written on September 22, 2009
In the bottom-line business that is professional sports, the most important thing that happened to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday was another loss.
In losing 9-7 to the Redskins in Washington, the Rams are now 0-2 and two games back of the 2-0 San Francisco ***** heading into next week’s home opener against Green Bay.
And if the Rams were a team with high expectations, falling to 0-2 would be borderline catastrophic. Three teams last year made the playoffs from 0-2, but that was an anomaly. Most of the time, 0-2 is a precursor to disaster.
But the Rams aren’t a team with high expectations. Not even the most die-hard pie-in-the-sky Rams fan dared dream of better than 7-9 or maybe (if they were high or drunk) 8-8.
So yes, the Rams lost again on Sunday, 0-2 is 0-2, and you are what your record says you are. But when you’re the St. Louis Rams and you’re 5-29 over your last 34 games, you learn to find the hidden positives in the bottom-line failures.
And so it comes to pass that losing 9-7 to Washington can be considered a success in many ways.
Red zone defense: The Redskins’ lone scores came on Shaun Suisham field goals of 21, 28 and 23 yards. Washington came close to a touchdown on one other occasion. In the fourth quarter, David Vobora stopped Clinton Portis two yards behind the line of scrimmage on 4th-and-1 from the St. Louis two-yard line.
On each of those drives, the Rams defense held strong with their backs against their own goal-line, forcing the Redskins to settle for three rather than seven.
Steven Jackson: Not only did Jackson finish with 104 yards on just 17 carries for a 6.1 yard average, he also got involved in the pass game with four catches for 15 yards.
A week after not catching a single ball against Seattle, it was encouraging to see quarterback Marc Bulger take advantage of the best player on offense in more ways than one.
The run defense: Washington did gain 125 yards on the ground, but it took them 33 attempts to get there. Not counting the three kneel-downs at the end, the Redskins gained 121 on 30 carries.
For a team that gave up 4.9 yards per rush attempt last year and 117 yards on 19 carries to Julius Jones in Week One, it was heartening to see Clinton Portis held to just 76 yards on 19 carries.
The pass defense: Even though Chris Cooley had seven catches for 83 yards—continuing a trend of the Rams defense getting shredded by opposing tight ends—it’s worth noting four of Cooley’s seven catches came in the first eight minutes, and six came in the first half. In a tight game that was in doubt until the end, Cooley did not have a single reception during the last 24 minutes of the game.
Other than Cooley, no Redskins received had more than four catches or 41 yards receiving.
Laurent Robinson: The state of the Rams' passing attack is pathetic and Donnie Avery was a total non-factor (actually worse), but Robinson did his part with six catches for 54 yards. He also had his first Rams touchdown, a beautiful high grab on a 3rd-and-goal fade pass late in the first half.
The talk coming into this season was that Avery was the unquestioned leader and maybe Robinson could beat out Keenan Burton for the second WR position. Right now it’s Robinson leading the team in catches with 11 for 141 yards and the touchdown. He’s also been targeted a team-high 19 times, with Avery at 14.
Now he just needs a quarterback who can throw the deep ball.
(Consider that a tease for a column I’ll be running later this season; working title: “The Rams Should Have Taken Mark Sanchez.”)
To go along with the pass attack, there’s a whole lot of other things the Rams need to work on. From clock management to covering the opposing tight end to evening out the time of possession, the Rams’ gotta-get-better-at list is a long one.
But for going to 0-2, there was enough positive in this game to at least feel like there’s progress being made.
Re: Finding the Positive in the Rams' 0-2 Start
I was thinking the same thing 01d. Same thing.
Overall it's a great look at what actually went right for us in this second game. If we keep improving every week, eventually those L's will turn into W's.
Re: Finding the Positive in the Rams' 0-2 Start
Bulger did well he threw no picks, and only once did i see a redskin almost pick it off and it was a D-Lineman.Why is Sanchez even a factor? If Sanchez was on the rams he would probably be worse then Bulger, considering our offensive line's cohesiveness.
On top of that i see a team that is improving. Atleast we didnt get blown out 4 games in a row this season. We are on the scale up to winning. and our defense is great in the red zone. When everyone "gels" as a team i see great things for this rebuilding rams.
I am still pushing for my much predicted 7-9.
Last edited by hawaiianpunch; -09-23-2009 at 01:26 PM.
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